When Ronan Tynan launched into the forgotten first verse of God Bless America, there couldn't have been more than 500 people left in the stands at Yankee Stadium. It wasn't even September 11th anymore.
Despite a rainy and raw September evening that led to an hour and twenty six minute rain delay, the stands were jammed when the game began. The fans got what they came to see in the third inning when Derek Jeter sliced one down the first base line, which looked like an instant replay of the hit he collected to tie Lou Gehirg atop the Yankees all time hit list. Like he did on Wednesday, he tipped his cap to the stands and pointed towards his parents, but this time he was also greeted by each of his teammates at first base.
At that point, the Yankees were leading 3-1 and Andy Pettitte looked to be on his way to his 5th straight victory. Andy worked escaped a bases loaded jam in the fifth inning with the Yanks still ahead 4-3 thanks in part to a spectcular defensive play in which he deflected a tapper from Nolan Reimold and made a twisting throw to complete the force at home.
The lead didn't last long as Damaso Marte was tagged for 4 runs in the 6th inning, sending a large chunk of the crowd towards the exits. The rain delay that started in the top of the 7th inning not only sent essentially all of the fans home but most of the Yankees regulars as well. When play resumed, the Yankees fielded a team that was more likely to have taken the field in Scranton at some point this season than in the Bronx.
The Yanks lost but no one really cared. The things that would have made this game forgettable under ordinary circumstances will make it more memorable in retrospect.